Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Stocks Notch Another Low Volume Summer Session; GDP Growth In line with Estimates

No surprise GDP growth was in-line with estimates as pending home sales jumped more than expected. Both figures failed to ignite buying as the market hit the day’s low just before 11am. Once again buyers stepped up to the plate supporting the market. Support wasn’t ferocious as volume registered lower than yesterday’s pathetic levels. Volume just isn’t there during the final week of the summer. Institutions are not stepping up and putting their money to work in front of Ben Bernanke’s speech in Jackson Hole. While the price support is positive it is very difficult to have much conviction in the market in either direction. According to MarketSmith’s shorting data we continue to see the NYSE Short Interest hitting 5 year highs. Are we simply seeing a massive short squeeze? Or is the SMART money right and a pending collapse is about to occur? It is anyone’s best guess here which way the market goes. Quite frankly it is much easier to doubt the market with all the potential headwinds the market faces. China, Europe, and the Fiscal Cliff can easily be used to make a bearish case. Despite the argument and from a trading perspective when do you exit your losing position? How much do you risk? Trend following is powerful because it cuts through the fundamental non-sense and positions you to what matters most: PRICE. With very little happening in the market there have been bright spots and opportunities for BWT to exploit. The last thing we want to do is miss a signal. Missing signals decreases your opportunity to capture upside and why it is so important not to argue with your system. Follow it and do not let your opinion get in the way of your trading. You’ll be surprised how much more success you’ll have by not ignoring trading signals. Remember always know your position sizing, entries, and exits! Cutting losses is your insurance policy and your number one rule!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Stocks and Volume End Mixed as Consumer Confidence Dips

A positive Case-Shiller housing report was over-shadowed by a disappointing drop in consumer confidence. Volume ended mixed on the day, but did not trigger any distribution. The market appears to be waiting word from the Federal Reserve head Ben Bernanke on Friday. We did see support coming into the market just after the consumer confidence debacle, but we didn’t see the market follow-through on the buying. The final hour did see a push, but was quickly met with sellers. Summer trading continues and it will conclude with Bernanke’s presentation Friday. Tomorrow we’ll get another read on GDP and the market is expecting the economy grew at a 1.7% pace. My best guess is GDP figure comes in line with estimates and it won’t really matter to the market. Bernanke’s speech at this point is probably overshadowing any economic release including GDP. In the end it boils down to price and we’ll keep our attention to what matters most. It is a shame the United States can’t generate growth beyond 1.7%. We are a double digit trillion dollar economy and growing at a solid 4 or 5% clip would be difficult. The law of large numbers comes into play here, but it would be nice to get more growth out of this country. Remember Iceland and Estonia? Iceland didn’t bailout its banks, it prosecuted its bankers. Estonia cut spending and took its medicine, but is growing at a great clip. Perhaps we should take some notes on what works and implement that. There isn’t much else going on in this market until the big boys come back after Labor Day. NTE running again today and we’ll take a few more profits on this bad boy. A few other stocks continue to move higher, but we aren’t seeing any explosive moves. They will come back and we’ll be ready. The question is are you ready?

Monday, August 27, 2012

NASDAQ Stalls as the Market Ends Mixed

Friday’s early evening news regarding AAPL’s patent fight with Samsung helped boost the stock today sending the NASDAQ higher at the open. The initial pop in the NASDAQ was certainly attributed to AAPL’s move, but stock would stall out before the lunch hour. A steady decline into the end of the day with the exception of a last two minute rally had stocks near lows of the session. Volume ran higher on the NASDAQ, but with volume so far below average it is very hard to label today as a “stall day” adding to our distribution count. The current rally is hanging in there and with the final week of summer upon us trading should stay light until after Labor Day. Today’s price action wasn’t ideal for an uptrend. A gap reversal like we saw today is normally a bad sign for the market. However, with AAPL providing the majority of the boost for the NASDAQ and very light volume anything is possible here. We are essentially discounting the move in price due to the obscenely low volume. The real players will all return after Labor Day and we’ll certainly see volume pick back up. The lone bit of economic news came from the Dallas Federal Reserve Manufacturing activity index. Economists polled expected a drop of 6.5 while the reading came in better at -1.6. Essentially the Dallas Fed saw a slowing, slowing manufacturing pace. Later in the week we’ll get another GDP reading which will likely show tepid growth. Second quarter growth is slated to come in at a wonderful pace of 1.7%. If you did not detect sarcasm there was plenty of it in that last sentence! Where are our 4% GDP days? Perhaps at some point we’ll get there, but when is the biggest question no one can answer. It is nice to see some of our stocks soar. A prime example of one we’ll be taking some profits on is NTE. We’ll continue to take advantage of this market as opportunities present themselves. Headlines will start rolling with Bernanke at Jackson Hole this week and you never know with the ECB’s Draghi providing headlines. We’ll stick with our disciplined approach and follow price. We’ll let the guess work to others. Make it a great week.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Big Wave Trading Portfolio Update And Top Current Holdings

The Big Wave Trading Portfolio remains under a weak BUY signal, following a week of constructive price action in the overall market. We continue to keep positions relatively small as volume continues to be completely absent in the stock market right now. Traders are still on vacation and there has not been a single what we deem “perfect” or “near perfect” signal since the BUY signal has been triggered. We will continue to operate on a small level until volume returns to above average daily or weekly levels in the overall market or a strong “perfect or near perfect” signal is generated. As for our opinions on the future direction of the market. We do not have any. However, in analyzing the current situation we find similar parallels to the price action in the summer of 2000. Obviously, this time it is much different as it is not coming from a post-bubble pop. However, as someone that follows history, this must be taken into consideration. A low volume rally is always suspect to heavier volume selling and with another week of August still left it is possible that the low volume rally will continue until Labor Day. If that is the case, that is when/where it then gets interesting. Will wall street come back post-Labor Day and see the gains on small volume and begin dumping shares? Or will wall street come back post-Labor Day, see the melt up on low volume, then see the 5-year high of the NYSE short interest ratio at 19.92 (MarketSmith numbers), and then squeeze the shorts to death? There is not one person out there that can answer that question. We must let price be our guide. If volume was heavier on this leg up and NYSE short interest was increasing, then I would lean to a powerful possible rally coming into election season. However, with the volume being so low, a pullback can easily materialize here. We will continue to go with the flow of price and use options to allow us to generate outsized returns that was once attainable via stock purchases alone with margin before 2011. The one extremely bright spot for us lately has been the earnings winners. Stocks gapping up on volume following earnings announcements have done brilliantly and those around in the morning taking the advice given from BWT traders have benefited greatly. Sadly, earning season is wrapping up and that means that we will have to wait 3 more months for these explosive moves that have given us an extremely high reward/risk right/wrong gain/pain ratio to come around again. There are a lot of so-called bulls out there in the II and AAII survey. There are a lot of shorts out there according to the NYSE short interest ratio. Which one is right? It doesn’t matter. Right now, all that matters is price. Follow the price. It is the only thing that doesn’t lie. Top Current Holdings – Percent Return – Date of Signal AVD long – 97% – 1/10/12 BVSN short – 82% – 3/19/12 CLGX long – 39% – 6/19/12 STX long – 37% – 6/29/12 PRXI short – 36% – 3/30/12 PHMD short – 31% – 5/11/12 VRNM short – 30% – 4/10/12 MAGS short – 27% – 4/18/12

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Stocks Slide as Volume Slips

Jobless claims and New Home sales disappointed setting a negative tone for the entire trading day. Federal Reserve President Bullard did not confirm a new quantitative easing program, but gold and silver still jumped higher. The two precious metals are certainly trading like there will be another easing program. Buyers did try to get the market higher before the lunch hour, but they did not have enough ammo to push the market back into positive territory. Tuesday’s high remains a road block for this market we have moved lower on lighter volume. Today was a consolidation day, but it is time for institutions to step up and support this market. The continued move in the precious metals has been quite impressive. What it all means is really anyone’s guess. An educated guess would be the metals are moving because of a new easing program. What about a lack of confidence in the US Dollar? ECB bond buying? We can certainly make up plenty of different reasons for the move. However, are you busy worried about the why rather than just getting aboard and taking advantage of the run? The “why” always comes, but we aren’t about to wait and waste an opportunity for gains. Sentiment has shifted to be in the bulls camp. AAII survey showed the amount of bulls jump to 42% the highest for this recent uptrend. Bears slipped to 26%, but many remain on the sidelines. 42% is not at an extreme level and anything above 48% would be considered extreme. 26% is low, but for bears anything around 20% would be too considered extreme. Current sentiment really only highlights the neutral nature of the survey respondents. This weekend will be the last weekend before the office end of the summer season. Make sure you get out there and enjoy the last of summer. Remember, know your entries, position size, and your exits.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bill Gross Handicaps QE3 at 80% as the Fed Hints at a new Money Printing Operation

All eyes were on the FOMC meeting minutes today! Our attention was on the price action, but market pundits were looking for the FOMC to hint at further stimulus from the central bank. Bill Gross tweeted shortly after the release of the minutes there is now an 80% chance we get a new money printing program. In the minutes, the FOMC noted the economy would need to improve for them NOT to act. More importantly the market reacted to the news initially moving higher. While the market did close off the lows of the session the market didn’t explode higher. We remain in an uptrend, but we still want to be aware of further distribution and act accordingly. Gold and silver moved higher on the news of the FOMC acting once again. Both precious metals have been relatively quiet for most of the summer despite stocks moving higher on FOMC hopes. At the moment GLD and SLV are in uptrends and look to be moving higher. All we care about is that they are moving higher and we have plotted our exit. We are still going to keep an eye for this market to take out yesterday’s high. Tuesday’s distribution day also is acting as a stall day. Stall days are high volume reversals when an uptrend hits a new high. In order to negate the stall day like we saw last week the market will need to take out the high on volume. Last Thursday we did see the market overcome a stall day and is a bullish signal. It will be important to this uptrend if we are able to repeat last week’s success. Any pile up of distribution here will not be a good sign for the uptrend. Know your exits and when the market signals your exit GET OUT. An unfortunate side effect of money printing operations is inflation. The way the government calculates CPI is a unique way of hiding true inflation. Gasoline and food prices are the most important to every American. Rising gas and food costs are a HUGE tax on the poor and lower/middle class families. It’ll be interesting to see the fall out if QE3 does come along. Remember to always cut your losses!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Big Wave Trading Portfolio Update And Top Current Holdings

The Big Wave Trading model switched to a BUY signal on Thursday. This signal was generated thanks basically to the performance of earnings winners, the Relative Strength of the Russell 2000, and a volume surge on the Nasdaq. There was no confirmation with volume in any other index or ETF. Sadly, overall, there continues to be a lack of any momentum in the market following a stock price breakout. The good news is that there is a lot of momentum in earnings winners gapping up on very strong volume. Almost every single stock recommended at Big Wave Trading, in the pre-market, for the past two weeks, has worked and continues to work. This is a very encouraging sign for the possibilities of higher stock prices and a sustained trend. The argument against a sustained uptrend include the low below-average volume on this rally and lack of leadership by the big high priced stocks. The argument for a sustained uptrend include the recent outperformance of earnings winners to earnings losers and the extremely high short-interest ratio on the NYSE. The NYSE is ending the week at or near 5-year highs (can I please have one day where the data corresponds to other data providers across the board. Sheesh.) according to MarketSmith. This ratio is currently around the 19.50 area which is kindle for a huge possible stock market fire. If algorithms continue to lift this market on low volume, it is possible that this will cause a painful short covering rally for those that are simply too bearish here. If a short covering rally does start soon and money continues to come out of bonds possibly finding a home in the stock market, it could be quite a move. On top of this high level of short interest, we are almost out of summer time and that means a possible September and October stock market rally. The stock market usually likes to start strong moves in one direction or the other in October. Crashes happen in this month a lot and a lot of sustained rallies start in this month. If we rally here, pullback in September, and start moving on strong volume in October it could lead to a very exciting moment where we finally produce some big winners. However, all of this is speculation so no conviction will be put into this. Overall, the market remains healthy, despite the absolute lack of volume, and as long as this continues there is nothing to do but go with the trend. There are a couple of weeks left in August so we will probably have to deal with the low volume for a little while longer. After Labor Day we should see some volume return to this market. Or not. I can’t predict the future. I only know the now. Right now, we are melting up slowly on no volume. It is what it is. Have a great weekend everyone. Aloha from everyone at Big Wave Trading. Top Current Holdings – Percent Gain – Date of Signal AVD long – 104% – 1/10/12 BVSN short – 82% – 3/19/12 STX long – 44% – 6/29/12 CLGX long – 40% – 6/19/12 PHMD short – 39% – 5/11/12 PRXI short – 35% – 3/30/12 MAGS short – 26% – 4/18/12 VRNM short – 26% – 4/10/12

CSCO Leading the Way Stocks Advance in Higher Trade

THURSDAY POST Stocks break out on above average volume lead by the CSCO after hiking its dividend and an upbeat earnings report. A strong move by the NASDAQ with above average volume certainly a big sign of strength and a clue Institutions were behind the move. CSCO certainly had a hand in the surge in volume, but it wasn’t the sole reason for the move and this is a clue Institutions had a hand in the move. Despite an awkward move higher off the lows we have an uptrend and now with volume to boot. Today’s move above Tuesday’s high on volume has rendered the stall day useless. The trend up and we’ll continue to act accordingly. Today was a certainly a nice breakout day for the market. This is what we have been looking for and with today’s move above Tuesday’s high on volume certainly is an encouraging sign. Leading stocks are doing well, but this is an earnings game and index game. AMZN is a stock who carries a very high price to earnings ratio, but broke out nearing an all-time high. We like to see this action from stocks and is an important piece of the puzzle to keep this market moving higher. Where will this rally end is anyone’s guess, but for now we need to be long and ride the wave higher. Sentiment did not change much week over week as bears came in at 28% and bulls at 37%. Not much movement from either camp despite the most recent move. Again, this is not a conventional market rally with all the economic headwinds we face. This rally simply points out your opinions do not mean much and price action will always rule the day. Tomorrow morning we’ll get to watch the nonsense induced by options expiry. I am sure many traders will be looking towards the weekend and leave early. Summer is almost over and everyone should be taking full advantage! Get out there and enjoy life.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Volume Slips Despite the Market Finding Support at Session Lows; CSCO Soars in After-Hours Trade

Led by a solid rally from the Russell 2000, stocks found support more than once throughout the day. New home builder confidence was better than expected again as consumer prices were below expectations according to government figures. Unfortunately, the economic figures didn’t spark any sort of excitement among institutions. Volume was lower on the day and certainly a black mark on the day, but it was the fact the market was unable to eclipse yesterday’s high that is somewhat concerning. We’ll need to see the market build off today’s gains and have volume flood the market. Not a terrible day by any stretch, it simply just left us wanting a bit more from the market. In the after-hours session CSCO provided the market with some good news as the stock beat earnings and boosted its dividend. John Chambers is notorious for speaking what he sees (despite seeing a great economy at the end of 2007) and this time his comments weren’t as bad as they were in March. If you remember back in March CSCO’s earnings provided a downside catalyst with its negative view of the economy. This time around it doesn’t appear to be all that bad according to CSCO. The stock is trading more than 80 cents higher in after-hours session. Friday we’ll get the dreaded monthly options expiry. Volatility did pick up yesterday, but still remains relatively tame. Option expiry weeks are notorious for increasing intraday swings and volume in the market. Thus far, we have not seen either. Perhaps tomorrow will be a different day, but nothing is guaranteed. Earnings plays like KORS, FLT, and others have provided some good solid profits for those taking advantage of the morning gaps. Tomorrow we’ll get PRGO and ROST reporting earnings and tonight NTES will report. We’ll be paying close attention to these stocks as they open tomorrow and will take advantage if the opportunity presents itself. Another interesting point to continue to look at is the sell-off in bonds. TLT and TBT are two ETFs to watch but the 10 year has gone from 1.4% to 1.8% in a short time. That is one big move in bonds recently and it will be interesting to see how mutual fund flows react to rising yields. Remember, rising yields are well correlated with stock market returns. Keep an eye on yields. Now that hump day is over we’ll be looking forward to another fun summer weekend.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Stocks Stall Mid-Day as VIX Jumps off the Most Recent Lows

Just after noon, stocks took a dive, after rallying from the morning lows. The final hour of the trading session ushered in sellers pushing the major stock indexes to their final lows of the day. Only the last 5 minutes did we see buyers step up and save the market from broad distribution. Perhaps the robots are going crazy, but today’s action does constitute as a stall day. This most recent uptrend does have two distribution days across the board and now one stall day. Yesterday’s bullish intraday action was done so on light volume and therefore not as significant as today’s action. While not an end all be all day it is important how the market reacts over the remainder of the week. Today’s action is a red flag for the most recent rally and we’ll need to be aware of the market movements for the rest of the week. Still, overall, we remain in a slight uptrend and will invest accordingly. The VIX finally woke up on a day where intraday volatility was not relatively large. Fear has been absent since June when the market hit its most recent low. Perhaps the Federal Reserve put has driven away sellers, but today they did come back. Interestingly enough on March 16th the VIX hit a low of 13.66 and yesterday the index hit a low of 13.67. While it did not pin point an exact high the NASDAQ would hit its intraday high a little over a week later on the 27th of March. Perhaps this market can rally further and why it is important to see the action over the next couple of days. In order to continue to move higher we’ll need to see bullish price action. Keep an eye on distribution and stalling the rest of this week as it will be a hint where this market is heading. It took to the 3rd paragraph to talk about economic data! Retail sales jumped more than expected, but PPI came in hotter than expected. The market cheered the retail sales figures, but largely ignored the economic reports on the day. In the end, it really doesn’t matter and all that matters is how we concluded the day. Leave the economic talk for the water cooler discussion and not your trading. Tomorrow we’ll have more fun with economic data in the morning with CPI figures. If the CPI comes in higher than expected, it will certainly be viewed as a negative. Ben Bernanke knows further easing will bring on higher commodity prices and with the drought in the mid-west it presents a very delicate situation for the Fed Chairman. It is all about executing your trading plan. Know your position sizing, entries, and exits.

Monday, August 13, 2012

4 Stocks Moving Higher Post Earnings

4 Stocks Moving Higher Post Earnings

NASDAQ Closes in the Green as Stocks Find Support at Friday’s Lows

It was another quiet Monday trading session, as AAPL and GOOG lead the NASDAQ higher closing just off the highs of the session. Volume was once again lower on the day, as we proceed through the dog days of summer. Commodities traded lower on the day, as gas at the pumps has rebounded higher putting pressure on consumers. When the market hit its lows, after the 11 o’clock hour, buyers began to show up supporting the market. While volume wasn’t highe–showing institutions piling back into the market–the price action was considerably bullish. There is quite a bit of economic news set to hit the market the rest of the week and we’ll certainly see the market move. PPI data out tomorrow and CPI data out Wednesday will certainly spark debate regarding Federal Reserve policy. The more we see deflation the more folks will make a case for another round of quantitative easing. To us it is noise in regards to our trading, but for a cocktail party (a boring one) it makes for good banter. Price matters most and although debating Fed policy is fun for some it is not useful for our trading. Today was overall is a bullish day, but boy was it a boring day. Europe was mostly lower and we failed to get any rumors from central banks. Boring days are good when you do not get epic failures from leaders. Leadership remains thin here and cash is king, but we have seen stranger things from this market. The next big thing from the US Central Bank is the Jackson Hole summit at the end of this month. All eyes will be on Ben Bernanke to see if he hints at or lays out the plans for another easing program. Up until then, I’d expect very little from the Fed. Rumors will always be present, but price always gives the clue. Remember the most important part of trading is knowing entries and exits. Cutting losses is most important piece to your trading!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Big Wave Trading Portfolio Update And Top Current Holdings

The Big Wave Trading Portfolio remains under a NEUTRAL signal, despite the gains this past week. While the gains were decent, volume was completely absent. If the data from Telechart is correct, weekly volume for the NYSE was the lowest total for the year. My main three data providers always have different volume totals for the indexes so I average them out, usually. Even though volume is so low and there has not been a confirmation rally following the strong rally on 7/27, we were given one new long signal each day last week. Following, the recent action, our portfolio has hit a protective stop and trading has been reduced to the most minimal position possible per trade. This will last the entire month, until there is strong follow-through to these recent gains or a “perfect” signal is generated in an individual stock. These have been few are far between the past two years. The mere fact that our new long signals are still not blasting higher immediately and are instead just holding their breakout levels tells me that there still is not enough pent up momentum to blast stocks higher. With the VIX now below 15 and with the bulls increasing last week while bears decreased in the Investors Intelligence survey, I wouldn’t expect much fire if we do continue to rally. In saying this, it must be noted that the NYSE short interest ratio continuously hits new 5-year highs almost daily. This index now sits at 18.63 at fresh new 5-year highs. Even if volume remains low–never short a dull market–and institutions do not return, the mere fact that a little bit of HFT/algorithm buying can lift stocks up due to the lack of supply on the market, thus creating a painful short covering rally, means that this low volume rally can continue for some time. If these shorts start to cover and sideline money returns to the market, we will be more than happy to get long some ETFs for a rally. However, if volume continues to be below average, we are not going to bite. There are simply too many uncertainties. The only thing we are certain about at Big Wave Trading right now is stocks that gap following earnings. We highlighted many stocks the past week that we issued buy signals (and some short signals) on in the AM based on earnings. Those that followed the recommendations in the AM, profited. It was a great week for playing earnings winners and losers. For the past six months, this has been the only play that has been consistently profitable more so than not. Every other methodology employed this year has more losses than gains. Next quarter, we will increase the capital we normally place in these gap plays as they are just very profitable and continue to trend after their earnings dates. Breakouts and moving average bounces still can not be trusted as algorithms are figuring out how to pick us off in this low volume environment. For the upcoming week, we will continue to maintain an extremely extraordinary high level of cash until volume returns to the overall market. We will also continue to focus on stocks that gap up due to earnings and stocks that gap down due to earnings. For the stocks that gap down we require a major previous uptrend like MNST and PCLN. A stock like YHOO would not be considered. Aloha, have a great weekend, and don’t forget to go outside at night and check out the Perseid meteor shower tonight and tomorrow night. Top Current Holdings – Percent Return – Date of Signal AVD long – 98% – 1/10/12 BVSN short – 81% – 3/19/12 STX long – 38% – 6/29/12 CLGX long – 38% – 6/19/12 PRXI short – 35% – 3/30/12 PHMD short – 33% – 5/11/12 CAMP long – 28% – 4/26/12 MAGS short – 25% – 4/18/12

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Stocks End Mixed as Volume Slips

Volume continues to back down from Tuesday’s level and stocks continue to hang in a holding pattern digesting the recent gains. We did get a bit more economic news showing Jobless Claims were less than expected and wholesale inventories fell. It will be nice when claims figures show job creation rather than continued job losses. Most economic news is for cocktail parties and not for trading or at least not for our style. After the Europe close EURUSD took a dive sending our markets to the lows of the session. Buyers were able to step up and support the market pushing prices back to near the highs of the session. Volume dropped more than 10% across the board, a clear sign institutions backed away from the market. We continue to see this market move sideways consolidating its most recent move. There just something not right about this market despite our continued rally. We are not about to argue with the market and fight it. Something just doesn’t feel right out there, but this is precisely the reason we have a cut loss strategy. Just because we may feel one way or another we could be dead wrong! We will not compromise our strategy because our feelings. Opinions are very dangerous and most often they keep you from squeezing every last bit from the market. We’ll stay with cash and a few long positions. Price will dictate our next move in either direction. Sentiment continues to be dominated by those who are neutral. The number of bears did slip to 27.35% according to the AAII sentiment survey. However, only 36.47% of respondents were bullish! How can this be? There are lots of reasons, but when the market appears to want to crack wide open rumors of Fed or ECB action always brings in short covering. It is what it is and fighting the tape is a futile effort. There are lots of reasons to be bearish and very few to be bullish, but when you boil it down all that matters is where price is moving. Tomorrow morning we’ll get a reading from Import prices and the release of the monthly budget statement. Like others, we are looking forward to the weekend. Make sure you get out there and enjoy the weekend.

4 New Issues Every Growth Investor Should Own

4 New Issues Every Growth Investor Should Own

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

PCLN Slides in Heavy Trade as VIX Continues to Slide

Today’s market action was not a bad day of consolidation for the overall market itself. However, we continue to see earnings disasters like PCLN and fear continuing to flee the market. Volume on the NASDAQ was above average, but below Tuesday’s session level. All in all, the NASDAQ put in an inside day on lower volume. This is precisely what you want to see the market react during an uptrend. However, how far can this market lift when you have the “fear” index sitting at just 15? There is a lack of fear in the market as sellers have completely rendered useless. Just concentrating on the market itself it does appear this rally can continue higher. We are in a new brave world where algo trading and HFT dominate the day’s trading. Without the public money pouring into the market how can this market uptrend survive? The VIX is at 15.32 at the close of the session and at these levels (in the past) the market tends to stall out and correct. Perhaps the computers have rendered the VIX useless and broken the back of the seller. Anything is possible, but it is no way to make trading decisions. Using price as your number one guide you can successfully navigate the market. In a computer dominated market the Federal Reserve continues to play a significant role in the psyche of traders. Hope is a dangerous emotion as it misplaces confidence. At this point, the only reason for optimism is the Federal Reserve conducting another round of easing. Ask Japan how constant easing has helped out their equity markets. Over the summer the Nikkei hit decade lows how is that success? Perhaps defined by a permabear multi-decade lows would be considered success. We will remain disciplined in our trading approach and we will not deviate from it. We’ll continue to take advantage of our opportunities and we are not about to gamble.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Russell 2000 and NASDAQ Lead the Way as Volume Jumps

A weak close once again dampens the day’s rally, but volume rises suggesting institutions have crept back into the market. Economic news will be light throughout the week and today wasn’t any different. By Mid-day the market had racked up good gains and volume was heavy suggesting the big players were active buying up shares of stock. While not overwhelming it is a good sign to finally see volume kick up showing institutions are somewhat willing to accumulate shares. We continue to see stocks move off of earnings releases and have been profitable. A good sign today and while we remain defensive we’ll need to see volume continue to flood the market. Summer time is not known for volume, but on solid price gains we’d like to see volume come in at least above the prior day. If we are lucky, we’d even take near the 50 day volume average. So far, we have yet to see such occurrence and more than likely due to HFT and Indexing. Many mutual funds manage to an index or better known as a benchmark. “Just buy the index” means just that and therefore you are seeing money chase after stocks how are in their benchmarks. The key is finding the stocks under accumulation and using proper entries and exits. Remember, you must stick with it to capitalize on the opportunity out there! Europe continues to be headline materials as Spain and Italy at some point will ask for a bailout. Economic news out of the Eurozone continues to be dismal. There isn’t any growth in the continent and now are relying on the ECB to bail them out. Same goes for the United States as many are expecting another round of Quantitative Easing. We may be rallying on hope, but it simply doesn’t matter. The mere fact we are rallying is all we care about. Reasons are pointless and by the time you have it all figured out the move will have passed you buy. Whether its bailouts from the ECB or the Federal Reserve printing more money at the end of the day it all boils down to price. Always have a plan! Know your entries, exits, and position sizing. All are vital to your trading success. Remember, always cut your losses!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Melt-up Monday Ends on a Sour Note as Summer Volume Continues

After coming off of an Economic news invasion last week the market gets a reprieve this week. Monday’s have been tough over the last 9 weeks closing in the red all 9 times. This Monday would be different closing in the green, but well off the highs of the session. The NASDAQ backed off the 3000 level while the S&P 500 reversed from 1400. While these are just psychological levels the sell off at the end of the day was not ideal. We’d like to see the market close strong on heavier volume. At the moment this market appears to be hyper focused on index securities and driven by high frequency trading. Our uptrend continues, but remains very weak with the lack of volume coming into the market. Friday’s market action was solid when you take a look at price action, but falls down when you take into account volume. We can continue to move higher, but there isn’t ANY accumulation in the market. Institutions are not accumulating stock at this time and it is very apparent when you look at volume. Without conviction we remain cash heavy in this market environment as it is difficult to have confidence to get size in any position. Trading with small positions here is key until the market says otherwise. It is quite amazing Mondays have been so dismal, but the market has been able to avoid taking out the lows. Since the last positive close on Monday the market was coming off the June lows, not highs. While it would be fun to speculate the market is about to change its behavior and move lower we will need price to confirm our stance. We have seen this market melt-up on pathetic volume and saved by possible central bank action and it would not surprise me to see another shock come into the system. How can the market rally in a sustained meaningful way when the VIX is sitting around 16? Anything can happen but logic says otherwise. It is very important to keep focused on being disciplined and sticking with your strategy. We are sticking to ours and look forward to when we have better market to operate in. The most important rule remains cut your losses, when you are wrong.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Big Wave Trading Portfolio Update And Top Current Holdings

This week marked a moment our model has not seen during a running six month period of time (this occurred in only four months, making it even more interesting), during the past 130 years. With the weak BUY signal in the Nasdaq switching to a SELL signal in the Russell 2000 on Thursday to a NEUTRAL signal on Friday, it marked 11 model switches to BUY or SELL in a row without a 5% gain. This has never happened before in 130 years and indicates that we are definitely in a market environment similar to 1937-1941 on the DJIA and 1976-1979 on the SP 500. The price pattern is more similar to 1976-1979 but the volume is more similar to 1930-1933 and 1940-1942 on the DJIA. This, therefore, automatically shuts down our model on the next signal and now prevents any new position to be of any size what so ever until a trend develops. I have stated before and I will state it again, there is no other time period ever in the history of the stock market where you can find the stock market rally on below average weekly and monthly volume (50 day volume average) for a prolonged period of time. All lower volume rallies before this one have ended in one or two ways. They either reverse and give back all gains or they lead up to a higher volume rally. Normally, those low volume monthly rallies only last one or two months before the real volume enters. The current rally has been on below average volume since 2009 (the entire way–not one above average volume UP month) on the DJIA and SP 500 and 2010 on the Nasdaq. So this low volume rally is too far into the trend to have that happen based on history. However, this being something completely different than ever before, could lead to it happening. This market is doing things it has simply never done before so why not. This situation, along with a high unemployment rate and a 1.5% GDP, is preventing any upward momentum from being generated. At the same time, without any more threats of QE or Operation Twist, we believe the market would be 50% lower from the current levels (based on removing all market rallies that either came before an FOMC day or on a day where easing was announced). The market is lifting higher due to inflation of hard assets. This is not good for trend followers on the long side or the short side. The real profitable trend lower will not be allowed to materialize with the Central Banks interference. And the long side trend will be small and choppy thanks to low interest rates and the aforementioned items above. Another thing that bothers me are the low VIX and sideline activity by AAII and Investors Intelligence survey members. The VIX is already at low levels so its hard to believe any real new uptrend will start here. However, the fact the VIX fell on Thursday when the market fell indicates that it could be temporarily broken. Also, there are more people on the sidelines than there are bulls or bears. This prevents extreme pessimism or optimism from forming thus preventing a major move in the opposite direction. Overall, it is a market where intermediate term trend following methodologies continue to be hindered and we find it safest for our assets that we just be on the side playing extremely small until we can get volume confirmation across the board. What will that confirmation look like? A significant move one way or the other on well above average volume on the indexes, ETFs, leveraged ETFs, inverse ETFs, and individual leading stocks. As long as confirmation is not across the board, Big Wave Trading will stay small until a “perfect” setup comes along. We have not seen a perfect setup that worked since February (one perfect and two near-perfects on the long side failed since) on the long side and we have not seen one at all since March on the short side. Until these show up, we are going to take it easy and wait for the right moment to begin operating at a higher capacity. Protecting our capital remains goal one in this trendless tape. The only play that is consistently working is our earnings gap plays. Up or down, it doesn’t matter as long as it is due to some earnings surprise and volume is at least 50% of average daily volume in the pre-market session. Besides that, buying every single dip hoping that the Fed will save you has worked also. That is not exactly my personal style. I am patient and will only risk the capital when the money is sitting in the corner waiting to be taken. Aloha and have a great weekend! Top Current Holdings – Percent Return – Date of Signal AVD long – 88% – 1/10/12 BVSN short – 82% – 3/19/12 PRXI short – 35% – 3/30/12 MAGS short – 33% – 4/18/12 CLGX long – 32% – 6/19/12 CAMP long – 31% – 4/26/12 AXTI short – 26% – 7/19/12 PHMD short – 26% – 5/11/12 STX long – 25% – 6/29/12

Thursday, August 02, 2012

ECB’s Draghi Fails to Impress Sends Europe Lower along with US Stocks

All eyes were on the ECB rate announcement and following press conference. Unfortunately for European stocks and yields the ECB did not deliver what the market expected. First, it was Ben Bernanke and the US Federal Reserve not announcing QE3 and now the ECB failing to deliver buying bonds outright. Initially, the NASDAQ received a ton of support in the morning session and appeared to be on its way higher. However, as the European markets dove to new lows prior to the close US stocks simply couldn’t hang on to the move off the lows. The final hour we did see support, but buyers simply could not push the market back above the unchanged level. Now the market awaits the July jobs report and it too will be a market mover. Last week’s rally into the end of the week has yet to see any follow-through at all. In fact, we are down four straight days. Not typical of a new uptrend and just another sign of the chop and slop summer trading has been this year. Who knows what tomorrow’s jobs number will bring but the most important piece will be how it reacts to it. CNBC will have its pundits rolled out ready to bring as much noise to the table as possible. We’ll pay attention to how price reacts to the news and follow our disciplined approach. We’ll leave the guess work to the amateurs. This week’s AAII sentiment survey was released showing the number of bears coming down from the low 40s to 35%. Bulls moved back above the 30 level, but those who are neutral in the market continue to dominate this sentiment reading. It is easy to why the VIX is so low showing a lack of fear. We can just point to how many of those who are neutral. If you are in cash how can you be fearful? We now have the Fed and ECB out of the way and the jobs report tomorrow it will be nice to enjoy a summer weekend! We remain cash heavy at this point in the game with the level of chop in the market it has made it really difficult to hang onto positions. Keep it small until you see gains pile up. Always cut your losses short and enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Fed Chief Says No to QE and Stocks Respond by Closing Lower

Leading up to the Federal Reserve rate annoucement was the big story was the software glitch hit by Knight Capital. Gigantic volume struck the NYSE causing very erratic trading in nearly 150 stocks. Just when confidence in the stock market is grim we get another flash crash incident. At least the news story distracted the majority prior to the Fed Announcement. Disappointing the market the Federal Reserve failed to deliver a new quantitative easing program. NASDAQ and Small Cap stocks lead the market lower with the Russell 200 finishing down more than 2%. It certainly doesn’t help when Knight Capital is down more than 33%, but small cap weakness continues. Preliminary volume indicates the NASDAQ was able to avoid a distribution day despite the losses on the session. Not a great day for bulls as the market will be hyper-focused on the ECB tomorrow before the opening bell. While the markets closed up lower the VIX failed to rally to show fear amongst sellers. The VIX has not been signalling any fear in this market. Today was no different despite the market not getting another round of QE. The lack of fear in the system can mean many things, but one thing it tells us upside will be limited and any large gains are a ways away. In addition to VIX, bond yields lept and closed higher after the Fed announcement. Rising bond yields and falling stock prices aren’t usually a norm. Sure, rising bond yields are a negative for the government and its financing activities. For stocks, from a historical view rising bond yields have been a big positive for the markets. While today may be an anomaly, it will be something to pay attention to going forward. Now it is onto the ECB tomorrow and then the July jobs report on Friday. More fireworks are set to hit the market and we’ll be ready. Remember, rule number one of cutting your losses!